Work/Life Balance

Law Firm Benefit: $4 Back-Up Child Care

One of the biggest personal issues faced by attorneys and other law firm employees is emergencies that require them to stay at home with their children or other family members.

“You really need a safety net for all purposes,” says Marcy Greer, a partner at Fulbright & Jaworski’s office in Austin, Texas. She found one, not only for herself but for the entire 2,200-employee Houston-based international law firm. It now has a new program that, as the Austin American-Statesman (reg. req.) puts it, “helps pay for last-minute care for its U.S. workers or their family members: young or old, healthy or sick, anytime and anywhere in the 50 states or Canada.” The cost to workers is $4 per hour for up to 80 hours annually of subsidized care.

The Fulbright back-up care program, which began this year at the law firm’s 10 U.S. offices, is administered by Work Options Group, based in Boulder, Colo., which subcontracts with providers, according to the newspaper. Cindy Carillo, the founder and president of the 21-year-old company, says businesses that use it can expect to gain $3 to $4 in increased productivity for every $1 spent on such back-up care programs.

Although Greer wasn’t expecting another child when she started planning the program several years ago, she now has a brand-new baby. The availability of back-up care, she says, will now help her take the infant along with her on several planned business trips this fall.

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